Okame Cherry in Snow

Okame Cherry in SnowWinter is over.  No it’s not!

Early spring in the Mid-Atlantic is like listening to 2 kids in the back seat of the car.  It’s warm, then it’s cold.  It snows . . . and then we ski wearing shorts.  Warm weather teases out the flowers, only to watch them shiver under a night’s frost.

Every year the weather turns in a warm stretch in March, stoking dreams of getting outside again.  The days are noticeably longer, a little warmer, and it seems as if winter is giving way.

But it’s not.  March usually keeps a cold snap hidden up its sleeve for just an occasion.  And if our defenses are lowered too far, a wet snow sets the record straight.

All of this uncertainty makes me appreciate the early spring flowers. Blooming this time of year requires flexibility and a little tenacity.  Temperatures rise and fall up to 40 or 50 degrees – often within a day or two!  There may be a sunny sky or a 6 inch blanket of snow to negotiate.  Rain and wind are frequent.

Putting up with these weather swings has a huge reward.  VISIBILITY.  Foliage has not opened.  Brighter flowers are a few weeks away.  Pollinators have nothing else to distract them.  And if humans are to be included in this dance, we are so winter – weary that we will embrace anything hinting at spring!

A few years ago I created Okame Cherry in Snow, a photograph that captures this emotion quite well.

Pulling onto the road to work, my eyes glaze over a bit.  The icy morning dampens my spirits as I wait for spring to arrive.  The cold, dark winter will not let go.  The grey sky seems to be mocking the skeletal trees scattered in the landscape.

A bright color suddenly flashes in my peripheral vision, snapping me to attention.  I round the corner to investigate, finding a grove of Okame Cherry trees in full bloom!

How can this be?  The horticultural report indicated that the Cherry trees were not to peak for another 3 weeks!  A heated parking garage provides the answer.  Warming the trees from below, the garage nudges the blooms to open a few weeks early.  The colorful blooms are enhanced by the cool icy coating, turning my gloom into elation in a matter of minutes!

Thank you for sharing this experience with me.  Please share this with your friends and return next week for another photographic journey!  In the meantime, please visit my website to see “Okame Cherry in Snow” and many other flower photographs!


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